she was waiting for me inside the small parking lot of a koreatown Everything store.

you want something for your garden, your closet, or your kitchen, they had it.

Maria had a fluffy rug in a giant plastic bag and a long object in a square box. the korean uniformed parking lot guy with a whistle and two sticks to help direct traffic told me to park, but i waved him off and pointed to her waving behind him.

finally i was allowed to pass. someone helped her with her too-big for my Benz items, and magically they all fit snugly and we were on our way.

i was mad at Maria. you should get an XL if you have big things, I thought to myself. but not everyone knows the nuances of rideshare, i also thought to myself. theres a damn radio show going on in there.

i get angry over the littlest things sometimes. it’s unreasonable and illogical. in my heart i want the person standing in front of the address in the middle of the block, with an opening for me to turn into, and then deliver me an incredible tale along the way.

but reality isn’t like that, and i know it. odds are a few rides will be like that, but most will be slightly annoying for various reasons but ultimately beautiful.

and in this case, romantic.

Maria was bringing home baby gifts for her first and only grandson. she has three daughters who all live in the valley. the oldest one is her favorite because she brought this baby into everyones life, she said.

i was no longer mad at her.

i asked her all the normal things: has he pissed on anyone, does his poop smell nice, does he sleep well?

her spanish accent was thick but she didnt care. she spoke fast and full of love.

yes, yes, and only around me.

it was rush hour in ktown and waze was telling me to zig zag to the opposite side of the neighborhood. it wouldn’t take long.

i asked her if she enjoyed being an abuela.

she said it is the best.

of all the stories i like to hear, love stories are my favorite.

{earlier today i had a big time motivational speaker and his wife. they were going to a fancy hotel. when he told me what he does i asked her, “does he motivate you?” “nope.” everyone laughed.}

when i asked Maria how she met her husband — she, too, laughed.

“i worked across the street from a korean coffee shop and every day i would go in and get a cup,” she said. “his parents owned it.”

i turned down the classic rock and said, “wait, your husband is korean?” Maria is Guatemalan.


“How long have you been married?”

“25 years.”

“then I must know everything,” I demanded.

she told me that koreans are not like Americans. Central, South and North Americans are all loud, she said, koreans are reserved.

“i would come in every day and every day he would forget to put sugar in my coffee and say nothing other than ‘three dollars.'”

she said he felt bad for him because here he has one job and he’s terrible at it.

“one day he said, ‘three dollars and would you like to go to dinner on friday?'”

unfortunately for the cars behind us, Maria lives on a narrow, busy street. so when we got to in front of her place, cars honked but she hustled the kiddie things out.

Hasta, Maria! i said

Caio, Tony! she said

$2 tip